Wednesday, January 31, 2007


I walked along the edge of the Chesapeake Bay when the tide was at its lowest, along with my energy level. The desire to have a day to ‘be still’ had led to the decision to fast lunch and spend about five hours in quiet reflection at a friend’s vacation home. Now at three in the afternoon, I was tired, hungry and wanted a nap. My spirit desired to connect with my Creator in some meaningful way, but I had trouble convincing the rest of myself to focus.

At high tide, one cannot walk along this particular area of the bay, but at low tide there are a few feet of sand espoused. My sneakers sank too low in the spongy, water-logged sand and the air had the scent of a swamp. The gnats were having a party, flitting from plant to plant, as were other creepy, crawly insects along the ground. I continued my slow walk, carefully stepping over a dead praying mantis. I paused a second as I realized that though I had seen many praying mantis over the years, I had never seen a dead one. Guess they have to die also, I reasoned to myself. An over aggressive plant growing along the side forced me to walk out nearer to the waters’ edge as it greedily covered my path in its reach for the water. As I did this I had to step over a small puddle of water that apparently missed the flow of the tide. More death - this time a crab lay there expired.

My mind lazily talked to God about this, why is there so much death and sadness? Why do I have to be walking over it? This kind of feels like my life … walking through sadness recently, dealing with loss and being unsatisfied with my circumstances. At the same time a glimmer of expectation rose up within me and propelled me forward. I can get through this I reasoned ... ‘this’ being both this walk and the rough spots in my life.

I had to see what was beyond the slight bend up ahead. It looked like there was a patch of dry sand up there. More dirty sand collected on my previously white sneakers as I moved forward while brushing the insects from my neck.

As I rounded the bend, I was stopped in both my physical and mental walk. There was an area of wild plants rambling through each other in a beautiful unkempt way … bulrushes, iris, hibiscus and trumpet vine. Butterflies gracefully hurried here and there, looking for the sweetest nectar. A dragonfly from a good-looking family line paused briefly on a leaf directly in front of me. The stark colors of his delicate wings shimmered in the afternoon sunlight that reflected off the still waters of the bay. My spirit rejoiced at the beauty of it all.

Thank you God, for showing me that after walking on paths that are messy and hard with sadness along the way, there is an overabundance up ahead. Moving forward is what will bring me to a place where I will be overwhelmed with an overflow of colors, textures and beauty.

– Janet Oberholtzer, Monday, August 21, 2006

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I will love the light for it shows me the way.
Yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars.
-Og Mandino

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Purpose verus being Alive

Our purpose, my purpose, your purpose ... there's been a lot of conversations about purpose over the past few years. For the most part, they have been good conversations, they have helped me look beyond myself and beyond today. I find comfort in the fact that my life has meaning, that there is a design and a plan for this crazy, messy life. The part I (along with others) get bogged down on, is finding that purpose. For sometime I was looking for a magic formula, or a certain event, person or cause that would yell 'purpose' to me. Lately though, I realize I have been trying to find my purpose by going the wrong way down a one way street. I thought when I find my purpose then I would really come alive and find fulfillment in life ... but instead I need to come alive and then my life will be a life of purpose. As said by theologian Howard Thurman ...

"Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”

So, the focus shifts from finding my purpose (heavy and somber) to living life fully alive (energy and fun). I need to know me, to know what brings me satisfaction, to know what makes me come alive. I didn't create myself, but I was created by the One that created all things, so that is the place to start. The maker knows me better than I know myself, so I need to have ongoing conversations with him. To fully understand what makes me feel satisfied and alive I also need to give myself time to reflect on life. I need to be willing to ... Be still and listen deeply for the truth that is carried on its winds - information about the past, wisdom about the present, and direction for the future. - Elizabeth Lesser

Sleeping in might feel good at the moment, but in the long run 20 minutes of exercise feels much better, so when I look at what makes me feel alive, I need to look beyond temporary pleasures. Each and every one of us looks and is different, and what makes us feel alive will also be as varied as the hues of color in the sky. The one area that is consistant with each of us is that to feel fully alive we need to "do to others what you would have them do to you" - Jesus

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

First Step in Faith

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Trust in 2007

Trust is such a lovely word in a world thoroughly self-indulged and complicated. it is quiet. simple. it represents freedom. rest. letting go. there are many unknowns in life. our children's struggles, a tentative move. critical talk behind our backs. a search for our own identity. bills to pay. aged parens to look after.

let go completely. trust. live with it all in an open hand before God. Jesus promises he WILL work it all out. i do believe for you, always ... a new sunrise.
- ann kiemel anderson